A Tutorial for the Paper-Mache’ Winter Sweaters…

20190226_130503 (3)This is the first one that I’m declaring finished. The sequins are shiny so the camera had trouble with the sparkly-ness.20190226_130407 (2)I’ve repaired the hole in the bottom edge of the white one where the handling stick was placed. The green one needs some more work, the hole on the bottom edge has to be repaired. I haven’t decided yet what else I might do to the green one, but it is very close to being done, plus I have to make a little wire clothes hanger for it with that red wire in the above picture. So, for these I used:

  • Elmer’s Foam Board  which is what I cut the shapes from, two pieces for each sweater. It comes in 20 x 30 x 3/16 inch pieces, in various colors and can usually be found in the office supply section of stores like Walmart, Target, Staples, etc. It is also available from Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, A.C.Moore, etc., and is usually near the poster board and the art paper section. I used white for this project.
  • Aleene’s Original Clear Gel Tacky Glue  which I used to glue the shapes together and also for attaching the sequins, beads, the gift images, and for attaching the wire clothes hanger.
  • Elmer’s Glue-All Multi-Purpose Glue Extra Strong Formula   which I used  thinned a little with water for the glue part of the paper mache’-ing.
  • Package insert tissue and phone book paper  torn into small pieces for the paper part of the paper-mache’-ing
  • Crayola Kids disposable paint brushes for adding the glue for the paper-mache’-ing and for smoothing the glue out with.
  • Liquitex Matte Medium Fluid Medium  which I used to seal the paper-mache’ after it was dry to protect it from the wetness of the gesso and paint I used on the sweaters to get them ready to be embellished.
  • Liquitex Acrylic Gesso  in white, to help smooth the surface of the sweaters and get them ready to be painted.
  • FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paint in : 6240E Cotton   which I used for the white sweater, for the prime coat and the base coat and the final coat.
  • Apple Barrel Matte Acrylic Paint in : 21479E New Shamrock  which I used for the prime coat, the base coat and the final coat on the green sweater.
  • Fashion Trim Snowflake Sequins in shades of blue and iridescent white, which I found at Michael’s.
  • Rocaille Seed Beads, size 11, in silver, from Create-A-Craft, which I found at Walmart, which I used to add a bit of shiny to the middle of the snowflake sequins I put on the white sweater.
  • To and from gift stickers from which I fussy cut those two wrapped gift images I glued on the green sweater. I found these stickers at Walmart.
  • Various colors of vinyl coated automotive wiring  which I found at Dollar Tree,  from which I made the wire clothes hanger bits I used for the hangers for the sweater ornaments
  • Odds and ends: Scissors, toothpicks, bamboo skewers, small round nose pliers with side wire cutter, X-acto craft knife extra sharp and extra blades, cardboard for the templates, a self-healing cutting mat, a large bread board, a # 2 pencil, a small magnifying glass, masking tape, sponge brushes, a straight pin or a really thin,  small nail, an airtight container to hold the water thinned glue, tweezers to help with placing the beads on the sequins.
  • Krylon Colormaster Clear Satin Crystal Clear  Indoor/Outdoor Spray   as a Varnish/Sealer  several coats 20190224_193022 (2).jpg

Instruction how-to’s:

  1. Referring to my picture above, for the white and for the green sweater, I used the cardboard sweater template with the sleeves more close to the body. I sketched out the general sweater shape on the cardboard and then cut it out with scissors. From side to side across the bottom of the sweater is 2 3/4 inches wide. From the collar to the bottom hem of the sweater is 3 1/2 inches. From the collar to the end of the sleeve is 3 1/2 inches. At the widest point measured across from one sleeve edge across the body section and to the far edge of the other sleeve is 4 inches.
  2. I put my self-healing cutting mat on my kitchen floor with a large bread board under it for added protection for the floor. I then placed the template on the foam board, on top of the cutting mat. I then traced around the template, two sweater shapes for each sweater.
  3. With the first template I traced and cut out enough shapes for five sweaters, which adds up to ten shapes. And, as you can see in the above picture, I traced out and cut some shapes with the wider spread arm sweater template, I ended up cutting six of those shapes, enough for three sweaters. Now, a word about cutting foam board, I have a love/hate relationship with foam board, also called foam-core board. The love part: Foam board comes in a lot of colors, it is very light weight and is very inexpensive. For small-ish projects you can use it in place of wood, like in making small picture frames, doll houses, it lends itself very well to making fake gingerbread houses, etc. But, and this is a very important but, this is the hate part: foam board can be difficult to cut.20190224_200042 (2)That is a piece of the foam board in the bottom, of the above picture. See the edges, they are very rough and ragged. Even with a brand new cutting blade, it can be difficult to get a clean cut edge, and scissors just crush the foam board. With much experimentation, I have found that if you do a very light score cut, just barely cutting the surface of the board and then go back over that to make your final cut, you’ll get a much cleaner cut edge. It won’t be perfect looking, but it won’t be crushed and ragged to the max like scissors would do. You can tidy and clean the edges up with a good sharp craft knife.
  4. Referring to the above picture, in the top left corner area, I glued the sweater pieces together, two for each sweater shape, using the Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue and before the glue dried, I stuck a bamboo skewer between the two pieces to aid in handling the sweater shapes while I did various things to them. Then I set the shapes aside to let the glue dry.
  5. Moving down in an counter clock wise direction, in the picture above. I placed bits of masking tape in an even layer all over the sweater shapes to prepare the surface for the paper-mache’-ing process.
  6. Still going counter clock wise, in the above picture, moving to the next sweater shape. I’ve been gluing the tissue paper and the phone book paper all over the sweater shape. I used the tissue for the sleeves and the phone book pages for the body section. Then I set it aside to dry. I then, using sponge brushes, painted matte medium all over the dry sweater shape to seal the glue and protect it from the wet-ness of the gesso and paint, two coats  Then, once the matte medium is dry, I painted gesso all over the sweater shape to help cover surface imperfections and to smooth the surface more for the paint. (Not in the picture, but the sweater shapes look like the white sweater without it’s sequins, after they have been matte medium-ed and gesso-ed. They’ll look very white.) 20190224_193137 (2)
  7. Now, referring to the above picture, the green sweater shape. Using sponge brushes, it has been prime coated, base coated and final coated with Apple Barrel Matte Acrylic Paint in : 21479E New Shamrock. The white sweater shape has been prime coated, base coated and final coated with FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paint in : 6240E Cotton. I have removed the bamboo skewer handling sticks from these two because they can dry flat from now on. I’ve repaired the hole left by the skewer on the white sweater by gluing a bit of tissue paper over the hole and then when that was dry, I painted over it with the same paint I used for the over all color. I cut a bit of the green vinyl coated wire and started shaping it like the hanger part of a clothes hanger. I used a straight pin to make holes in the top of the white sweater shape and after slathering glue on the wire ends, I slide them in the holes to make the hook look like the top part of a clothes hanger.20190226_130503 (3)It turned out looking the way I was trying for. 20190226_130407 (3)
  8. Then I used the Clear Gel Tacky Glue to glue the snowflake sequins on the white sweater and then glued a silver rocaille bead in the center of each snowflake.20190226_130407 (4)
  9. Then, for the green sweater, I fussy cut the package images from the Christmas to and from sticky labels I had and glued them on with the Clear Gel Tacky Glue. I haven’t decided yet if I want to maybe use puffy paint to put maybe dots along the edge of the collar. I’ll make a sketch of it and decide on how it looks.
  10. When the sweater shapes are done with the embellishing process and dry, dry, dry, I’ll take them outside on a nice dry, not windy day and spray them with the Krylon Colormaster Clear Satin Crystal Clear Indoor/Outdoor spray Varnish/Sealer. At least three coats. Front, back and edges to seal them and protect the paint from nicks and scratches and moisture. And hopefully, the varnish will help keep my embellishments from falling off.

So, there you go! These sweaters are actually quite easy to do and you can decorate them in many, many ways. It just takes some explaining to …well… explain how I made them. I was inspired by looking at the feltie versions of Ugly Christmas Sweaters on Pinterest.com to try my hand at designing my version of what I’m calling “Paper-Mache’ Winter Sweater Ornaments”. I was trying for cute not ugly. If, you want to be kind of amazed and dazzled, go on Pinterest.com  and type in Ugly Christmas Sweaters in the search bar. You will see all kinds of sweaters that people have really put some major effort into, to try to make them look… I don’t want to say ugly cause a lot of them aren’t ugly, but are… I’ll say… really interesting and unique looking sweater creations. And there are hoards of cute feltie Christmas Sweater Ornament pictures and how-to’s on Pinterest to look at and be inspired by. You don’t have to use the exact products I used to make these, you could make the sweater shapes from several pieces of watercolor paper glued together or several pieces of cardboard glued together. I used the foam board because I had some on hand and it is very light weight and relatively easy to use. Mainly, I use products that are easy for me to find, or I already have and number one: inexpensive. The big thing about making these is they take a lot of drying time, if you rush the process and they aren’t completely dry, they can start to fall apart in some really spectacular ways, bits can literally shoot off across the room. So, allow for lots of drying time. Work on other projects while you are doing these that use the same general products, and that way something will always be ready to have something done to it.  And about the two sweater shapes that are glued together but I haven’t paper-mache’-ed them yet, they are going to morph into Hawaiian Shirt Ornaments. I’m going to trim the sleeves to give them short sleeves, then paper mache’ them and decorate them to look like Hawaiian Shirt Ornaments. I’ve seen those on Pinterest.com and really like them, too. I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT DAY!!!!! And a GREAT REST OF THIS WEEK!!!! HAPPY CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!

11 thoughts on “A Tutorial for the Paper-Mache’ Winter Sweaters…

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